Jamie Collins

Browns Release LB Jamie Collins

The Browns released Jamie Collins, according to a team announcement. The linebacker was due more than $10MM for 2019, an unpalatable amount given his lack of production last season. 

We want to thank Jamie for his contributions to the Cleveland Browns,” said general manager John Dorsey in a statement. “These types of decisions are never easy. Jamie is a respected veteran player in this league and we wish him the best as he continues his career.”

The Browns first tried to trade Collins, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), but they were unable to find a taker. The Browns also tried to move Collins at last year’s trade deadline, but couldn’t get a deal done.

Of course, that’s not to say Collins is washed up. Last year, Collins registered 104 tackles and four sacks across 16 games and graded out as just the No. 58 ranked LB in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. However, his contract made him the highest-paid traditional linebacker in the league and he has not been performing at that level.

Collins joined the Browns in a mid-season trade with the Patriots in 2016. Collins was outstanding in New England, but the Patriots were unwilling to make a sizable commitment to him as his contract was drawing to a close. He also didn’t help his case by allegedly “freelancing” on defense in order to pad his stats.

Releasing Collins will give the Browns an additional $9.25MM in cap room versus just $2.5MM in dead money. The Browns now have approximately $81MM in cap space, giving them the third-highest total in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Notes: Collins, Johnson, Perriman

Although the Browns are not linked to a first-round quarterback for the first time in ages, this will be a pivotal offseason for a rising team. Here is the latest from Cleveland, courtesy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot:

  • It’s a near-certainty Jamie Collins will not play on an $11.75MM cap number this season. The Browns are likely going to restructure that deal or make a move to trade or release the outside linebacker, Cabot notes. John Dorsey met with Collins’ agent over the weekend, and the second-year GM characterized the highly paid ‘backer’s 2018 season as inconsistent. Collins has been the NFL’s highest-paid off-ball linebacker for nearly two years, though his deal contains no more guarantees. It would save the Browns $9.25MM by cutting Collins. Cleveland has Christian Kirksey signed long-term and has received quality play from Joe Schobert, with newcomer Genard Avery showing promise as a rookie.
  • The Kareem Hunt addition has prompted other teams to inquire about Duke Johnson‘s availability, Cabot reports. Three teams are interested in Johnson, she adds, despite the Browns’ pass-catching back coming off a down year. Johnson signed an extension in 2018, but the Browns now have Hunt in the fold to play alongside Nick Chubb. Dorsey said last month Johnson’s roster spot is not in jeopardy “yet” and confirmed he remains committed to the receiving back, as a running back, going forward. Hunt’s suspension timetable remains uncertain, but it is likely he will draw a ban longer than six games, thus keeping the need for Johnson present.
  • Dorsey has been in contact with Breshad Perriman and agent Drew Rosenhaus about a possible re-up, but Cabot adds the sides are not close on terms. Dorsey said he would “love” to have the former first-round pick, who ran a 4.25-second 40-yard dash at the 2015 Combine, back due to his speed-size combination. A constant injury risk in Baltimore before being waived last year, Perriman caught just 16 passes with Cleveland. However, he posted a 21.3-yard average as an intriguing deep threat.
  • The Browns will give Greg Robinson another chance to earn their starting left tackle job, agreeing to a second contract with the former No. 2 overall pick.

Latest On Browns, Jamie Collins

Browns GM John Dorsey is scheduled to meet with agent Bus Cook on Friday to talk about the “long-term plan” for linebacker Jamie Collins (via Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer). Dorsey didn’t say it explicitly, but it sounds like the Browns will either ask Collins to restructure his deal or consider an outright release. 

The Browns acquired Collins from the Patriots via trade in 2016 and later signed him to a new four-year, $50MM contract. Collins missed the bulk of the 2017 season due to injury and had a so-so 2018, so the Browns probably don’t feel that he’s worth the expense. As it stands, Collins is under contract through 2020 with cap hits of $11.75MM and $13.75MM in each of the next two seasons. Releasing Collins would give the Browns an additional $9.25MM in cap room versus just $2.5MM in dead money.

Collins will celebrate his 30th birthday in October, midway through his seventh pro season. Last year, Collins registered 104 tackles and four sacks in his first 16-game season since his 2013 rookie campaign, but graded out as just the No. 58 ranked LB in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.

There were some inconsistencies,’’ said Dorsey. “You don’t know what leads to it. He may have been nicked. There’s certain things that come. All I know is he’s a very talented football player and you can’t have enough of those guys on your team.”

Dorsey also wondered aloud whether Collins would fit into new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks’ 4-3 scheme as an outside linebacker.

Once you understand the concepts that Steve is trying to apply, what it takes to have a position of success within the linebacker position, you want to make sure he fits that model,’’ said Dorsey. “Jamie is a good football player, so we’re going to sit and talk to his representatives, we’re going to go back as an organization and talk about all these different things and then we’ll make a decision here moving forward.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Patriots Trades, Collins, Bills, Hughes, Jets, Sterling

The Patriots are annually one of the most aggressive teams in the league when it comes to adding talent, as evidenced by their recent trade for Josh Gordon. With the trade deadline now just a couple of days away, New England is looking to make more moves. The team wants “to acquire some help in the defensive front seven by the deadline Tuesday”, and “they’ve had internal discussions about trading for linebacker Jamie Collins“, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic.

The Patriots traded Collins to the Browns in 2016, and now apparently have some interest in bringing him back. It would be an unusual move with a player being traded twice between two teams, but the Browns would likely welcome the relief of getting out of Collins’ contract, and it sounds like the Patriots are interested. Collins signed a four-year $50MM deal with Cleveland in 2017, and hasn’t lived up to that deal so far. Whatever happens, it sounds like the Patriots’ defense will look a little different by this time next week.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes “has been a hot name on the trade market”, but the “Bills have been reluctant to part with him”, a source told Howe. Howe thinks that Hughes would “be a good fit for the Patriots”, but doesn’t think Buffalo will decide to part with him. Hughes has been having a good season, notching 4.5 sacks in seven games.
  • Jets tight end Neal Sterling “suffered his second concussion of the season” today against the Bears, and “likely will be lost [for] multiple games”, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN (Twitter link). The Jets are very thin at tight end, so this is a somewhat significant loss for New York.
  • Bills running back LeSean McCoy has cleared the concussion protocol and will play Monday night against the Patriots, the team announced in a tweet. It’s a huge boost for Buffalo’s struggling offense as they look to pull of the massive upset in primetime.

Extra Points: Bengals, Bucs, Browns, Chiefs, Broncos

Matt Barkley suffered a Grade 3 MCL sprain in Thursday night’s preseason game, which could end the veteran quarterback’s chance to serve as the Bengals‘ No. 2 signal-caller, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Barkley, whom Cincinnati inked to a two-year deal during the offseason, will likely be placed on injured reserve, although he could return later in the season. Given his lackluster play during the exhibition season, Barkley was likely going to lose out to Jeff Driskel in the Bengals’ backup quarterback battle even before injury luck intervened.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Buccaneers could make a waiver claim for a veteran backup offensive lineman over the weekend, but don’t expect them to orchestrate any trades, tweets Greg Auman of The Athletic. Starting left tackle Donovan Smith is expected to be sidelined for another one-to-three weeks after suffering a knee sprain earlier this month, so Tampa Bay could certainly aim to add bodies to its front five. However, offensive tackle depth is sparse league-wide, so it’s unclear if the Bucs will be able to find any competent options. At present, journeyman Michael Liedtke is set to fill in for Smith if the latter misses regular season action.
  • The Browns released linebacker Mychal Kendricks on Wednesday after he was shockingly charged with insider trading, but the 27-year-old had been performing so well in Cleveland that other clubs believed fellow ‘backer Jamie Collins was available via trade, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link). Crucially, Breer does not indicate the Browns were shopping Collins or had any intention of moving him, but the mere fact that rival teams believed Collins could be had is notable. Cleveland sent a third-round pick to New England in exchange for Collins in 2016, and subsequently re-signed him to a four-year, $50MM contract the following year. Collins, who played in only six games last season before going on injured reserve with a torn MCL, will join Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert as Cleveland’s starting linebackers.
  • Orlando Scandrick‘s one-year deal with the Chiefs contains a base salary of $915K and includes up to $500K in per-game roster bonuses, reports Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Scandrick had already collected $1MM in guarantees from the Redskins, who signed the veteran defensive back in March before releasing him earlier this month. Now that Steven Nelson has returned to Chiefs practice, Scandrick is competing with David Amerson for Kansas City’s third corner role.
  • Broncos linebacker Jerrol Garcia-Williams will undergo season-ending surgery after suffering a torn ACL, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). Garcia-Williams appeared in 11 games for Denver last season after going undrafted out of Hawaii, but was primarily limited to special teams duty (he saw only 23 defensive snaps). Speculatively, Garcia-Williams’ injury could open the door for the Broncos to reunite with fellow linebacker Corey Nelson, who was released by the Eagles on Sunday.

Browns’ Jamie Collins Done For Season

Browns linebacker Jamie Collins is done for the season with a torn MCL, coach Hue Jackson announced. Collins has officially been placed on the injured reserve list, per a team announcement. Jamie Collins (vertical)

Collins was injured after pulling down his first interception of the season in the first quarter of action. Although he was able to walk off of the field under his own power, doctors diagnosed him with an MCL injury after the game. Today, he was informed that the tear was severe and would require several months of rest.

Collins, 27, re-signed with the Browns this offseason on a four-year, $50MM contract. At the time, the former Patriot probably had higher hopes for the Browns rebuild. After yesterday’s loss, the Browns have now sank to 0-9 on the year.

The linebacker’s season ends with 31 total tackles, one interception, one sack, one forced fumble, and three pass deflections.

For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus has him rated as one of the worst qualified linebackers in the NFL this year with a 35.9 overall score. He had a similarly disappointing 47.6 mark last year, a major drop from his work with the Pats in ’14 and ’15.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Rumors: Jackson, Thomas, Collins

While questions about the effectiveness of the current Browns regime’s plan continue to emerge, there are NFL personnel who believe in what Cleveland’s trying to do. Some around the league remain bullish on the franchise’s strategy of stockpiling draft picks with the hope lapping the field in terms high-value selections can’t help but lead to a strong foundation, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes. Of course, the Browns benching their second-round rookie quarterback for a player who was on their practice squad a year ago in advance of a meeting with the surging Deshaun Watson doesn’t make for great optics. But Pelissero adds Jimmy Haslam, his history of impatience in this department notwithstanding, had to know this experiment wasn’t going to go well early. But the new regime’s 1-20 record piling up many more losses before picking up that second win still might mean trouble for either Hue Jackson or the Sashi Brown-led front office.

Here’s the latest out of Cleveland.

  • One asset perpetually linked to a trade for draft picks figures to re-emerge in these discussions before the Halloween deadline. Joe Thomas is still playing at an All-Pro level in his 11th season, but with the Browns having done so much to acquire high draft picks, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wonders if the team having once again fallen out of contention so soon would make a trade sensible. Thomas being on a team-friendly deal (a non-guaranteed salary of $8.8MM is attached to Thomas’ through-2018 contract) would stand to help in potential talks, and Browns management would seemingly be running out of time to cash in its top asset and grab another Day 2 pick (Thomas turns 33 in December). But Florio adds Thomas’ presence stands to help keep fans interested in the team, one that doesn’t look interested in competing for a playoff spot any time soon.
  • Whether Kizer reclaims his job and fares better down the stretch or not, the Browns’ new-look front office is unlikely to let the rookie’s performance affect the strategy of gauging 2018 draft options, Bud Shaw of cleveland.com writes. The Browns passed on Watson in part because they wanted to be in a strong position to draft a possible higher-end quarterback prospect next year. Choosing Watson at No. 12 would have provided a stronger impediment toward doing that than taking one at No. 52, where Kizer was chosen.
  • For the first time this season, the Browns will have their top two defensive investments on a game field together. Jamie Collins will return after missing three games due to a concussion, Dan Labbe of cleveland.com reports. It will mark the first time the outside linebacker and Myles Garrett will play together in a regular-season contest. Garrett registered two sacks in 19 snaps during his debut in Week 5.

Extra Points: Broncos, Jags, 49ers, Falcons

The Broncos have been connected to quarterback Tony Romo, whom they could pursue in free agency if the Cowboys cut him, but head coach Vance Joseph insisted Tuesday that Denver’s 2017 starter is already on its roster. On whether he’s committed to Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, Joseph said (via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com): “Absolutely, I am. They’re both smart guys. Obviously different skill sets, but I’m committed to both of those kids. They’re good football players and we’ve got to build around those guys.” Joseph’s offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy, echoed his boss, saying he’s “happy with the guys we have.”

After the Broncos hired Joseph and McCoy last month, Mike Klis of 9News reported that the club would rather start Lynch than Siemian next season. As a first-round rookie last year, Lynch sat behind Siemian – who fared OK in his first season as a No. 1 – but did see action in three games and pick up two starts.

More from around the NFL:

  • Browns linebacker Jamie Collins and cornerback Joe Haden; Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree and punter Marquette King; and Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David each saw portions of their contracts become fully guaranteed Wednesday. The details can be found here, via CBS Sports’ Joel Corry.
  • Of Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas‘ $7MM salary in 2017, $3MM will become fully guaranteed Friday, per Corry, but Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union disputes that. Thomas isn’t due to receive the $3MM until March 9, the first day of the league year, a source told O’Halloran (Twitter link).
  • The Kyle Shanahan-led 49ers will hire longtime NFL defensive lineman Jeff Zgonina as their D-line coach, reports Sporting News’ Alex Marvez. Zgonina, who played in the league from 1993-2005, spent last season assisting along the Giants’ defensive line.
  • Shanahan could bring former Falcons colleague Eric Sutulovich with him to the 49ers, tweets ESPN’s Adam Caplan. Sutulovich, who’s the Falcons’ assistant special teams coach, will likely interview to become the 49ers’ ST coordinator, relays Caplan.
  • One assistant the Falcons won’t lose is Keith Carter, whom they promoted to running backs coach Wednesday. Carter worked as Atlanta’s assistant offensive line coach over the previous two seasons. The club is also likely to hire Bryant Young to replace the fired Bryan Cox as its defensive line coach, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Young, a four-time Pro Bowl D-lineman who accumulated 89.5 sacks as a careerlong 49er from 1994-2007, played under Falcons head coach Dan Quinn in San Francisco (2001-04) and coached alongside him at Florida (2011-12).

Extra Points: Patriots, Ryan, Browns, 49ers

The Patriots ultimately traded linebacker Jamie Collins to the Browns in late October for a third-round pick, but the Pats initially had their sights set much higher. We learned back in December that New England tried to deal Collins to New Orleans for receiver Brandin Cooks, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com wrote today that the Patriots also tried to trade Collins to the Texans for DeAndre Hopkins. Unsurprisingly, Houston was unwilling to entertain that offer, but New England also attempted to pry Johnathan Joseph from the Texans in exchange for Collins. Houston was more intrigued by that proposal but valued Joseph too highly to pull the trigger.

Now let’s take a look at a few more links from around the league:

  • On the subject of seminal trades, the Ravens were ready to part with their entire 2008 draft class in order to trade up to take Matt Ryan at No. 2 that year, Rapoport reports. The Ravens held the No. 8 pick and offered their entire ’08 picks stockpile to the Rams, who held the No. 2 choice. St. Louis also wanted Baltimore’s second-round pick in 2009, which ended up being Paul Kruger, to clinch that deal, per Rapoport. The Rams ended up taking Chris Long at No. 2, with the Ravens trading down to No. 18 and selecting Joe Flacco. In the ’08 draft, Baltimore acquired Ray Rice in the second round but largely whiffed on its other picks. However, the Ravens ended up making 10 selections. The Falcons selected Ryan at No. 3 overall.
  • More trades: we learned in recent weeks that the team is willing to deal backup Jimmy Garoppolo and that the 49ers, Browns, and Bears could be among the teams with interest. In her latest mailbag, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer believes the Browns would be willing to part with their No. 12 overall selection as part of a Garoppolo deal if that’s what it takes to land the young signal-caller.
  • John Lynch isn’t completely devoid of scouting experience, with Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com noting the former Buccaneers and Broncos safety joining recently hired 49ers exec Adam Peters in Broncos meetings and prospect evaluations, eventually accompanying Denver’s contingent to the 2013 Combine. John Elway also put Lynch on some special assignments in recent offseasons, per Maiocco, dispatching the eventual Hall of Fame finalist to evaluate draft-eligible safeties.
  • In an expansive breakdown of today’s Super Bowl teams’ financial distribution, CBSSports.com’s Joel Corry writes the Patriots using the franchise tag on Martellus Bennett isn’t out of the question due to Rob Gronkowski‘s inability to stay healthy. Corry projects the tight end tag number to come in at $9.894MM. The Patriots have Dont’a Hightower as their apparent top tag candidate, but the linebacker’s tag is slated to be $14.754MM, which could lead the Patriots to proceed with caution despite having already traded Collins and Chandler Jones.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report

AFC North Notes: Browns, Steelers, Ravens

Should the Browns‘ newly assembled power structure consult the team’s franchise player about a plan for the No. 1 overall pick, Joe Thomas would not use it on a quarterback. Going into his 11th year, the perennial All-Pro left tackle would rather see his team use the selection to bolster the pass rush.

I think you need to get a pass-rusher,” Thomas said on the Dan Patrick Show today (via Pat McManamon of ESPN.com). “… You gotta be careful reaching for a quarterback at No. 1 because if they fail, they don’t help your team at all. Whereas if you pick a defensive lineman and maybe they don’t live up to the hype, you can still find a place to get him on the field and to have an impact. We need guys that can come in and start and that can contribute.”

Thomas, who has two years left on his Browns deal and will turn 33 during the 2017 season, said in the past the Browns need to identify a franchise quarterback. There isn’t a better spot to do that than the No. 1 pick. But this quarterback class — fronted by Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer and Cleveland-area product Mitch Trubisky — has divided scouts. The Browns have been reportedly coveting Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett at No. 1 and considering a Watson pick at No. 12. But obviously, the versatile Clemson talent is no lock to be there when Cleveland’s second first-round window opens, given quarterback prospects’ rises as drafts near.

Here’s more from northeast Ohio and some other regions housing AFC North franchises.

  • Jamie Collinsfour-year, $50MM extension will pay $37.5MM in its first three years before containing no guaranteed money during the 2020 season, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald tweets. Collins will also receive a $5MM signing bonus as part of the deal (per Howe, on Twitter) which includes $26.5MM guaranteed.
  • Negotiations between the Ravens and UFA nose tackle Brandon Williams have not yet begun but are expected to commence before he hits the market, Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun notes. Even before Zach Orr‘s retirement, Williams was set to be the top priority, per Preston, for a Ravens team that’s lost numerous talents in free agency in recent years. It’s a big year for free agent defensive tackles, with Dontari Poe and Kawann Short residing as impending UFAs.
  • The Ravens tied up some loose ends on their coaching staff today, per the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zreibec (on Twitter). Chris Hewitt will take over new Bills DC Leslie Frazier‘s position as secondary coach, and Mike MacDonald will assist him, Zreibec tweets. Craig Ver Steeg, a nine-year Ravens offensive assistant, will coach quarterbacks, will slide over from skill-position assistance to helping QBs coach/OC Marty Mornhinweg with the signal-callers, Zreibec notes (on Twitter). Drew Wilkins will serve as the assistant defensive line coach. Each of these staffers’ assignment changes represents an internal promotion.
  • The Steelers could determine another year with Ladarius Green is too risky, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes. Green will enter his sixth season after experiencing a disastrous fifth, playing in just six games. However, he averaged 50.7 yards per game and made several big plays when healthy. But concussion issues dogged Green to the point Mike Tomlin said a decision needs to be made about the tight end. “I don’t have an assessment, long-term, of where he is,” Tomlin said. “I think that’s one of the chief medical decisions and questions that we have to have moving forward, in terms of guys getting an assessment of their overall health and what it means for 2017.” A Green cut will cost the Steelers $3.56MM in dead money while saving the team barely $2MM. Green said earlier this week he does not intend to retire.
  • Antonio Brown‘s constant desire for targets has rubbed many teammates the wrong way, but his occasionally selfish ways aren’t viewed as detrimental to the team, Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette writes. Ben Roethlisberger has told the All-Pro wideout to “shut up” multiple times on the field, and since-retired tight end Heath Miller told Brown to “stop complaining about not getting the ball” at a 2015 practice. However, Dulac notes Brown not a problem in the locker room. This could be a key point as Brown’s payday looms.